The caretaker at a mosque in Philadelphia said he discovered a severed pig’s head on the sidewalk just outside. Police are investigating the situation.
The caretaker told police that he found the head near the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society’s door when he came in around 6 a.m. Monday. The facility holds a mosque, interfaith community center and a school.
CBS Philadelphia reported that surveillance video showed a red pickup truck slowing down in front of the mosque on Sunday night. Then, the truck circles the block, and the second go around, an object is flung from the passenger window.
“The intent of that person was obviously a hate crime–it was an attempt to deface a religious institution,” Marwan Kreidie of the Philadelphia Arab American Development Corporation said to CBS Philadelphia.
Kreidie explained that the first time Al-Asqa received a hateful act was just after the Paris attacks when a voicemail on the machine stated: “Allah…is a peace of pork [expletive]! Allah Sucks!”
Since this latest act, Kreidie is worried what will happen next. He said that “a pig head doesn’t do much physically, but the next thing could be a pipe bomb.”
He added that Al-Asqa managers are strengthening security and are getting in touch with law enforcement as the tension rises. “Attacks on any religious institution is an attack on all of us. We want people to know, we are not scared. We are part of the community,” said Kreidie.
Al-Asqa Islamic Society administrators claim that they’ve contacted the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission, the Department of Justice and the FBI, in an effort to get someone to start an investigation.
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney said that the “bigotry that desecrated Al-Aqsa mosque today has no place in Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has a long history of coming together in the face of challenge,” Kenney said in a statement Monday.
Neighbors explained that they are saddened and shocked by the situation.
“I feel bad that it’s happened. I’m glad it doesn’t happen often,” Aisha Yasin, who lives near the building, said.
“We live here together. Christians, Muslims, Jewish and this is free country,” said Joe Bouaissa, who works at Germantown Pizza nearby.
The Quran (the holy book of Islam) prohibits Muslims from consuming pork, and pigs have been used to offend or taunt Muslims. According to CBS, attackers in Greece painted anti-Muslim slogans and put a pig’s head outside of an Islamic studies center in Athens.